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December 11, 2013

New bill would expand driver’s license medical

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The following is a news release from AOPA regarding new legislation introduced in Congress today to significantly broaden the parameters for piloting aircraft under the driver's license medical standard .

December 11, 2013

By  Elizabeth A Tennyson

After nearly two years of FAA inaction on the AOPA/EAA third-class medical petition, Congress has taken matters into its own hands, offering up legislation that would vastly expand the number of pilots who could fly without going through the expensive and time-consuming third-class medical certification process. Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), a member of the House General Aviation Caucus, and GA Caucus Co-Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) on Dec. 11 introduced the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act. The legislation would dramatically expand the parameters for flying under the driver's license medical standard. Rokita and Graves are both AOPA members and active pilots.
"We have waited far too long for the FAA to expand the third-class medical exemption to more pilots and more aircraft," said AOPA President Mark Baker. "Congressmen Rokita and Graves stepped forward to take decisive action in the best interests of general aviation when the FAA refused to act. We appreciate their outstanding leadership on this issue and look forward to seeing this bill move forward."
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver's license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats. That includes virtually all single-engine airplanes with six or fewer seats, including Beech Bonanzas, as well as many light twins like the Piper Aztec, Beech Baron 55 and 58, and Cessna 310. By way of comparison, most large SUVs on the roads today weigh more than 6,000 pounds and can carry six to seven passengers, making them larger than the aircraft that would be operated with proof of a valid driver's license under this new bill.
Pilots would be allowed to carry up to five passengers, fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots. The act also would require the FAA to report on the safety consequences of the new rule after five years.
To read the complete article see the following link to the AOPA website:

http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2013/December/11/new-bill-would-expand-drivers-license-medical.aspx?CMP=ADV:1

 

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